The escalating hypercar wars were on full display at this year's Monterey Car Week, with the most hype surrounding the art-like engine of the Hennessey Performance Venom F5 and the uber-futuristic exterior of the long-teased SSC Tuatara. First hinted at way back in 2011, SSC took the opportunity in Monterey to confirm that the Tuatara will be fully released in 2019, and claimed it will pack a 1,750-horsepower, twin-turbocharged V8.
SSC was quick to point out that those insane horsepower stats comes by way of E85 flex fuel; when using 91 octane gasoline, max power should be around 1,350 horses. The engine was co-developed with Nelson Racing Engines, and displaced 5.9 liter with dual intercoolers keeping its charged air compressed. A flat-plane crank design allows for a stratospheric redline at 8,800 rpm, and all the power is routed to the rear wheels only through a seven-speed computerized manual with a robotic shift system.
But the Tuatara's powerplant and drivetrain weren't on full display this week like the Hennessey Venom F5's—rather, SSC was unveiling the car's super-slick styling, which takes the standard layout for today's hypercars and propels the entire group forward into the future. Inside and out, SSC has clearly lived up to their own challenge.
This iteration of the Tuatara strongly resembles the original concept of seven years ago, with a more refined touch on the copious venting, inlets, and spoilers. All those aero features allow for SSC to claim a ridiculous drag coefficient of only 0.279, significantly lower than Bugatti's Veyron or Chiron, Koenigsegg's Agera, or Hennessey's Venom F5.
Like so many other hypercar manufacturers, SSC's goal is to crack the magical 300 mph mark, which would set a world record for fastest production car (beating out the Koenigsegg Agera RS's current 277.9 mph verified two-way average). Of course, the Tuatara will need to start test runs immediately, as Hennessey also claims their car will begin trying for records in the near future.
Despite the Tuatara's slow development process, SSC does have a strong claim to fame, as their Ultimate Aero model formerly held the world speed record after beating the Bugatti Veyron. Perhaps the delay has stemmed from SSC's decision to produce 100 examples, rather than the original slate of 40, which had been priced at more than $1 million all the way back in 2011.